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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


14 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. London. This lady, who resided at Dulwich, in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, was in the perfect enjoyment of all her faculties, though in her ninetyfourth year. The coachman, who declares he " will not spare them," is a striking likeness of MR. GEORGE BOYD, a clothier, who had his shop at the head of Gosford's Close, He in some measure deserved the elevation he has obtained by the great interest he took in originating the design of the Mound. The inscription on the post-" G. B.'s Bridge "-is in allusion to this. He was a brother of the late Dr. Boyd, solicitor-at-lam, author of " The Nature and Offices, and Duty of a Justice of the Peace.'' 2 vols. Quarto. The footman, MR. WILLIAM YETTS, who is urging '' Geordie " to whip hard, kept a hairdresser and hosier's shop at the head of Forrester's Wynd. The building is now taken down. He possessed a great fund of humour ; and, although a member of the Club, used to indulge very frequently in ridiculing their transactions. Although he had a wife and family,' with whom he lived reputably for many years, he thought proper to fall in love elsewhere ; but the object of his attachment (a married lady) not exactly comprehending his unusually liberal principles,indignantlyrejected his suit. The discarded lover, as in duty bound, instantly became inspired with the despair of an ancient hero of romance ; and, amongst other notable results of distracted love, imitated the well-known Kitty Fisher, who, in the zenith of her charms, ate a Bank of England hundred-pound note between two thin slices of bread and butter. But his meal, though less expensive, must have been more difficult to swallow ; for he actually took Jive $veqound notes of Sir William Forbes' Bank from his pocket, and devoured them, without, however, the head and butter accompaniment of Miss Kitty. As a suitable termination to this folly, the infatuated barber crowned the whole by leaving his family in a destitute condition, and entering himself on board a man-of-war.* The newly-shipped tar soon found himself exposed to all the perils of active service. He fought on board the Bellerophon at the battle of the Nile in 1789 ; and, in the dreadful conflict which that ship maintained with her stupendous opponent, the Orient, he had several narrow escapes. While engaged in supplying ammunition, a tall comrade by his side had his head carried off, and the ball passed so near to Yetts that he said he actually felt himself lifted up from the deck. The history of poor Yetts is somewhat romantic. The family consisted of one son and two daughters. They emigrated, we believe, to New South Wales. !a A friend who felt interested in the welfare of the destitute family, called on Sir William Forbes, to whom he told the circumstances of the case ; and, on his single testimony alone, obtained from that humane gentleman the sum of twenty-jveppounds in lieu of the notes destroyed by Yetts. This act of generosity, it may well be conceived, proved a moet seasonable and unexpected supply for the family.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 15 At what other engagements our hero of the “Lawnmarket” was present, during the continuance of hostilities prior to the peace of 1801, is uncertain; but that he was actively employed may be inferred from the various sums of prize-money which he remitted to his family. ?Vhen the treaty of Amiens was concluded, Yetts returned to Edinburgh ; and with the money he had accumulated during his sea-adventures, made another effort to settle down in respectable citizenship. With this view he opened a small spirit shop at the head of Turk’s Close; but the speculation proved unsuccessful. The narration of “ hk hair-breadth ’scapes ” no doubt brought many loungers about his shop ; and it is possible that, with prudence, he might have done pretty well. The reverse was the case; and the cLdevant barber once more put to sea. In 1806 he was on board the Blanche frigate, which, in company with other two-the Phabe and the Thames-were sent to the North Seas, for the protection of the Greenland fisheries. On the 30th of July the Blanche fell in with the Guewiere French frigate off Faro, when, after a smart action of forty-five minutes, the latter surrendered. The Guerriere being one of the largest class of frigates, was much superior to the Blanche. Yetts escaped without a wound ; and a letter written by him to a friend-the substance of which appeared in the Edinburgh Advertiser at the time-gave the first intelligence of the capture. We come now to the last scene in the chequered life of the hapless tonsor. The following year, 180’7, the Blanche frigate having been despatched to the coast of France with sealed instructions, she struck upon a rock on the night of the 5th of March, within about thirty miles of Brest, and went to pieces in the course of a few hours. Forty-five persons were lost,, among whom waa poor Yetts. According to the information of one of his shipmates, who communicated the intelligence of his death, he might easily have escaped from the wreck; His companions repeatedly urged him to follow in their boat, but he would not leave the ship, and doggedly sat down upon a stone in the galley to await his fate, and went down with her. This strange indifference to life was attributed to an attachment which he had formed for a Welsh lad on board, whom he had taught to read, and who had been washed overboard when the vessel struck. The survivors were taken to Brest, where they were well treated ; and were subsequently marched off to Verdun as prisoners of war. The principal figures in the Coach are those of MRS. DTJNN, of the “ Hotel;” MISS SIBBYH ~TON(f ormerly described); and MRS. PENNYwh, ose husband, Mr. John Penny, was a writer in Forrester’s Wynd, and clerk to “ Johnnie Bnchan,” Writer to the Signet. Mrs. Dunn occupies the centre position-Mra Penny is seated above-and, to the left, will easily be distinguished the portly figure of Sibby Hutton. The other ladies are intended for MRS. GRIEVE ( d e of the Lord Provost), fih.9. WRIGm, etc.
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